USDA Boasts: 1 in 4 Americans 'Rely' on Federal Food Assistance

By Penny Starr | March 10, 2015 | 2:34pm EDT

(AP Photo)

( - In a press release put out last week, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said that 1 in 4 Americans "rely" on federal food assistance programs.

"USDA's 15 nutrition assistance programs help struggling families gain access to healthy, nutritious food," said the release. "Throughout the month of March, which is National Nutrition Month, USDA will highlight the impact of these programs on the 1 in 4 Americans that rely on these vital programs for the nutrition they need."

In the USDA’s fiscal 2013 “The Food Assistance Landscape,” which was published in February 2014, the “1 in 4 Americans” statistic is cited. The report also states “a total of 5.7 percent of all households (7.0 million households) had very low food security— the most severe food-insecure condition monitored by USDA. Typically, households classified as having very low food security experienced the condition in 7 months of the year, for a few days in each of those months.”

The USDA's fiscal 2012 annual report on "The Food Assistance Landscape," which was published in March 2013, also cited the “1 in 4 Americans” statistic.

"At some point during the year, about 1 in 4 Americans participates in at least 1 of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) 15 domestic food and nutrition assistance programs," said that report. "Over 70 percent of total USDA outlays go to these programs, which vary by size, target population, and type of benefits."

According to the 2012 report, in the average month in fiscal 2012, 46.6 million participated in the food stamp program, 8.9 million participated in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), 31.6 million participated in the school lunch program, and 12.8 million participated in the school breakfast program.

In addition, according to the report, the USDA Child and Adults Care Food Program was responsible for millions of meals served in childcare centers, family daycare homes, and adult daycare centers.

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